This wonderful Italian pasta dish is cheap to make and makes a very satisfying meal served with a mixed green leaf salad and crusty bread. You'll find it on the menu at Signorelli Gastronomia, Pyrmont, Sydney.
Wash the vongole in plenty of fresh water then put in a bowl covered with water and leave in the refrigerator overnight, changing the water as often as you can.
An hour before cooking, add a tablespoon of salt to the water to help the vongole expel any sand. Drain and wash again.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil, add the garlic and chilli and toss well. When softened, add the vongole, cover with a lid and toss over high heat until they open. Give the pan a few good shakes to distribute the heat.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pan of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Turn the pasta and place in a large serving bowl, add the vongole and toss well, adding plenty of freshly chopped parsley. Season to taste. If you like, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the pasta for extra flavour, or add a dash of dry white wine to the vongole in the pan.
Tip: never buy molluscs (like pipis, vongole or mussels) with fully opened shells. Check that they have a pleasant sea smell and store in a bucket or bowl of fresh water. Pipis have a smooth white or pale green tinged shell and were once used as bait but have gained in popularity over the past few years. Vongole are smaller with a ridged brown shell.